Carroll College Hosts Hawaii Debaters

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

HELENA – Twelve top debaters from Hawaii’s Parker School will be on Carroll College’s campus December 5-7 to participate in a debate workshop and pro-am tournament with Carroll’s Talking Saints forensics team.

“Parker School is a premier academic school in Kamuela, Hawaii, on the Big Island, with an exceptional forensics program,” said Talking Saints coach Brent Northup. “We invited them to trade Big Island beaches for Montana mountains for a weekend of friendship and debate. To our delight, they said yes!”

Founded in 1976, Parker is located in Kamuela, on Hawaii’s Big Island and serves 315 students in grades K-12. Honolulu Magazine recently called the school “an academic powerhouse deep in Paniolo (cowboy) country,” thanks to their strong debate team; numerous national merit and semi-finalists and finalists; and acceptance to colleges such as Columbia University, Brown University, Yale and UC Berkeley.

Parker School is committed to speech and debate, with Headmaster Carl Sturges also serving as the speech and debate coach. The debate team has a current roster of 50 students, which constitutes nearly 40 percent of the entire upper school, making it the largest team in Parker’s history. 

“Competitive speech and debate offers our students the opportunity to apply academic lessons in a different format,” said Sturges. “This knowledge has assisted several students to earn college debate scholarships and translate into successful careers in law and other fields. A number of our students are interested in Carroll College’s excellent debate program as a possible college destination.”

Parker’s most recent success came at the University of Utah’s Beehive Bonanza High School Tournament this past October. Debaters won the first-place overall sweepstakes trophy over 40 other schools and took first place in both open policy debate and junior varsity policy debate. This stunning win makes Parker the first-ever Hawaii debate team to place first at a major college-hosted mainland tournament.

During their time at Carroll, the 12 debaters and four faculty members will get a chance to see the campus, tour the state capitol, and attend a Carroll basketball game. Debaters from Bozeman High School will debate the Parker school students on Thursday evening.

“One of our alums and former team members will provide them with a guided tour of the Capitol,” said Northup. “He’s a local attorney who has held office in state government. He was also a member of the Talking Saints national championship squad in 1999.”

The weekend ends with a pro-am tournament, with each of the 12 Parker debaters paired with a Carroll debater for an educational tournament in BP format. Saturday night will feature an Aloha Banquet to celebrate the friendship between Parker and Carroll. The banquet will showcase the championship round of the tournament, featuring four teams – with four Parker debaters paired with four Carroll debaters.

“The closing dinner will be a lovely way to celebrate our time together,” said Northup. “We’re inviting some former team members and alums to meet the students from Hawaii. There will be some high caliber debating, but most of all we’ll be cementing a friendship between Carroll and the Parker School.”